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Doty gets vice chair position

Brookhaven sate Sen. Sally Doty has been promoted to serve as vice chairman of the Senate’s Judiciary A committee.

Doty had previously served as a member of the committee but will now rise to replace the late Bennie Turner as vice chairman.

A Democrat from West Point, Turner died in November, leaving his seat vacant.

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves announced on Friday Doty would take Turner’s vice chairman post. Reeves presides over the Senate and makes committee assignments and leadership appointments,

Doty said she didn’t expect the promotion.

“There are a lot of qualified people on that committee,” she said.

The District 39 senator is also vice chairman of the Public Property committee. Doty has previously described herself as surprised she netted a vice chairman slot in her freshman year in the senate.

Doty learned of her promotion early Thursday morning and was able to share the news with some of her constituents, because Thursday was Brookhaven Day at the Capitol.

The Brookhaven senator said she feels herself playing a much more active role in Senate affairs this year.

“This year is much different from last year,” she said. “I feel like I hit the ground running.”

She feels she’s earning some success based on the foundation she built in last year’s session.

“I needed to be here last year and listen and learn,” Doty said. “I used last session to build relationships in the Senate.”

In the previous session, Doty didn’t introduce any legislation. This year, however, she has a number of bills she’s planning to push, including legislation to increase the salaries of sheriffs in the state.

The Judiciary A committee met for the first time with Doty as vice chairman Tuesday to work through some bills, Doty said.

The 15-person committee is chaired by W. Briggs Hopson III.

Judiciary A usually handles civil legal matters while the Judiciary B committee handles criminal matters.

Doty is a member of both committees.

In a special election, Turner’s daughter won her father’s seat and has been appointed to serve on the Judiciary A committee as her father did.